Nicolás Catena - 2012
In the early 1980s, Catena, a third-generation winemaker, visited California and returned home inspired to produce wines that could compete in the global market. Within a decade, aided by an all-star cast of imported consulting winemakers, he produced the first Argentine wine to earn an outstanding score (90 to 94 points on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale). He also crystallized Malbec's status as the country's iconic grape and sparked an industry-wide transformation, elevating Argentina to a position as one of the world's most modern wine-producing regions. For his achievements in transforming Argentina's wine industry, and his philanthropic spirit, Nicolás Catena receives Wine Spectator's 2012 Distinguished Service Award.